Several studies point to the benefits of keeping children motivated and passionate about their toys, friends, tasks and activities in general. Motivation and passion are strong contributors to concentration. Kids that can develop their ability to concentrate perform better in directing their thoughts and actions toward a goal.
That sounds obvious, doesn't it? But how can we help our kids develop what scientists call "executive function"?
In the past, kids used to spend a lot of time engaged in freewheeling imaginative play, pretending they were characters of a particular plot. These activities helped kids develop their cognitive skills and discipline, building their concentration, their ability to control emotions and resist impulses.
Nowadays, kids tend to spend extensive passive time in front of the TV, video-games, or in activities controlled by adults, not exercising their self-regulation skills.
Activities that help kids develop their creativity and self-discipline are often ignored by parents and some pre-schools these days. Unfortunately, poor executive function is associated with unsuccessful academic performance.
For more information about how to develop executive functions, and about special programs like "Tools of Mind", logon to childtrends.org and npr.org.